November 17, 2023 at 3:30pm

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Elena Ferrarin

Article by Elena Ferrarin

Communications Coordinator
Northbrook Park District


What would you do if a pigeon wanted to take the wheel of a bus when the driver could make her passengers late? You might say no, right? Would you waver if the wily pigeon were an expert at begging, negotiating and pleading?

The musical “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” by Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences will give children a chance to figure out what to answer — aloud! — when a pigeon won’t take “no” for an answer.

The play is based on the picture book by cartoonist Mo Willems, which earned a Caldecott Honor award in 2004 by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

The Northbrook production will have a cast of six with a puppet in the lead role.

“His children’s books are really popular and translate well for our audiences,” Northbrook Park District Visual and Performing Arts Manager Drew Kambach said. “’Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!’ is a fairly simple picture book, but it’s a lot of fun. Bringing the story to the stage, putting songs to it and adding puppets elevates the storytelling and makes it more of an experience.”

The play has added layers of meaning for young audiences, Kambach added. “On a deeper level, it also teaches children about the consequences of their actions, and how their choices affect the outcome of situations.”

Willems is also the author of “Leonardo, the Terrible Monster,” one of Time magazine’s 10 Best Children’s Books for 2005, and has won six Emmy Awards as a writer and animator for Sesame Street.

“Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” runs November 18 through December 2 at the Northbrook Theatre in the Northbrook Leisure Center, 3323 Walters Avenue, Northbrook. The play is especially well-suited for children ages 5 and up.

Tickets are $17 per Individual. Sunday morning performances are followed by a puppet workshop; tickets are $30 for the play and workshop. Children ages 2 and 3 are welcome to attend the workshop if accompanied by an adult puppet builder.

Advanced ticket purchases are recommended. For group tickets, contact Drew Kambach.

Tickets can be purchased at or in person at the Leisure Center. For more information, visit or call 847-291-2995.